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Trump Will Allow Release of Classified JFK Assassination Files

It counters a report that predicted he was going to block the release of the documents due to national security reasons.

President Trump said Saturday morning he will allow the release of the classified files related to former President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.

“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump tweeted.

Trump’s announcement counters a report that predicted the president was likely going to block the release of some of the documents by the National Archives, which cited pressure from the CIA over possibly harmful national security information being revealed.

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Still, White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters told Politico Magazine that the Trump administration was trying “to ensure that the maximum amount of data can be released to the public.”

The White House later put out a statement couching Trump’s pledge to release the files on one caveat.

“The President believes that these documents should be made available in the interests of full transparency unless agencies provide a compelling and clear national security or law enforcement justification otherwise,” a White House official said, according to an afternoon press pool report. Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] JFK: Democrat or Republican?

John F. Kennedy lowered taxes, opposed abortion, supported gun rights, and believed in a strong military. And he was a proud Democrat. But would he be one today? Author and talk show host Larry Elder explains.

Source: PragerU


Secret Service Has No Audio or Transcripts of Any Tapes Made in Trump White House 

Photo: jonathan ernst/Reuters

Photo: jonathan ernst/Reuters

WASHINGTON — Louise Radnofsky reports: The U.S. Secret Service has no audio copies or transcripts of any tapes recorded within President Donald Trump’s White House, the agency said on Monday.

The agency’s response to a freedom of information request submitted by The Wall Street Journal doesn’t exclude the possibility that recordings could have been created by another entity.

The Secret Service handled recording systems within the White House for past presidents, including Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

The question of a White House recording system has lingered for more than a month since Mr. Trump first raised the possibility in a provocative tweet about former FBI Director James Comey.

In recent days, the two men have offered differing accounts of whether Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey in private conversations within the White House complex to ease off the FBI’s probe of former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

On Friday, Mr. Trump kept the tapes mystery alive, telling reporters in the White House Rose Garden, “I’ll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future.” He added, “Oh, you’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don’t worry.” Read the rest of this entry »


10 Fascinating Facts on President Ronald Reagan’s Birthday

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It’s the 106th birthday of Ronald Reagan, and since he was one of the most widely recognized world leaders, it’s not hard to find some interesting facts about the 40th president.

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois. Reagan had a long career as an actor and union leader before he became the governor of California in the 1960s and won presidential elections in 1980 and 1984.

Here are 10 facts about President Reagan you may not know.

1. Reagan really did enjoy jelly beans. According to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Libraryhis favorite flavor was licorice. Reagan started eating jelly beans in 1967 as he was trying to quit a pipe-smoking habit. He switched to Jelly Bellies a decade later.

2. One food that Reagan didn’t like was brussels sprouts. This is according to the Reagan Library website. In her autobiography, Nancy Reagan said her husband wasn’t a fussy eater since he traveled on the public speaking circuit for decades, but he also didn’t like tomatoes.

3. Reagan’s nickname of “Dutch” was given to him at an early age by his family. Reagan’s ancestry is Irish on his father’s side and Scots-English on his mother’s side. The name came from his childhood haircut, among other things.

4. The future President’s last movie role was in the 1964 release, The Killers. Based on an Ernest Hemingway story, it was Reagan’s only role as a villain in a film, and it was the first made-for-TV movie. However, The Killers was considered too violent for TV, and released to movie theaters instead.

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5. The future President lost partial hearing in one ear when he was hurt on a movie set in the late 1930s, after a gun was fired next to his ear. Decades later, President Reagan wrote to Michael Jackson offering his support after Jackson was burned filming a TV commercial.

6. Ronald Reagan started out in life as a Democrat and supported the New Deal efforts of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Reagan officially became a Republican  in 1962, but he had grown more conservative during the 1950s as he toured as a General Electric spokesman.

7. Reagan was not the original choice to star in “Casablanca,” instead of Humphrey Bogart. The urban legend over the issue is documented on snopes.com, and it started with a paragraph in a Warner Brothers’ press release issued before the movie was made. Bogart was always expected to play the lead role. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer on NATO: We Blow Up Alliances at Our Peril 

Trump’s Foreign-Policy Revolution

His intimations of a new American isolationism are heard in capitals around the world.

Charles Krauthammer writes: The flurry of bold executive orders and of highly provocative Cabinet nominations (such as a secretary of education who actually believes in school choice) has been encouraging to conservative skeptics of Donald Trump. But it shouldn’t erase the troubling memory of one major element of Trump’s inaugural address.

“For 70 years, we sustained an international system of open commerce and democratic alliances that has enabled America and the West to grow and thrive. Global leadership is what made America great. We abandon it at our peril.”

The foreign-policy section has received far less attention than so revolutionary a declaration deserved. It radically redefined the American national interest as understood since World War II.

“Trump outlined a world in which foreign relations are collapsed into a zero-sum game. They gain, we lose.”

Trump outlined a world in which foreign relations are collapsed into a zero-sum game. They gain, we lose. As in: “For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries” while depleting our own. And most provocatively, this: “The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.”

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“Imagine how this resonates abroad. ‘America First’ was the name of the organization led by Charles Lindbergh that bitterly fought FDR before U.S. entry into World War II — right through the Battle of Britain — to keep America neutral between Churchill’s Britain and Hitler’s Reich.”

JFK’s inaugural pledged to support any friend and oppose any foe to assure the success of liberty. Note that Trump makes no distinction between friend and foe (and no reference to liberty). They’re all out to use, exploit, and surpass us.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

No more, declared Trump: “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First.”

Imagine how this resonates abroad. “America First” was the name of the organization led by Charles Lindbergh that bitterly fought FDR before U.S. entry into World War II — right through the Battle of Britain — to keep America neutral between Churchill’s Britain and Hitler’s Reich.
Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Trump Laid Waste to the Vision of JFK and Ronald Reagan

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Charles Krauthammer argued that Donald Trump’s inaugural address made no distinction between friend and foe, opposed the idea of America sustaining the free world, and ultimately reverses the international vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.


[VIDEO] Space missions: US PROJECT MERCURY (1960) NASA film

This film documents the selection of the original seven astronauts for Project Mercury: Lieutenant Malcolm S. (Scott) Carpenter, Captain Leroy G. (Gordon) Cooper, Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn, Captain Virgil I. (Gus) Grissom, Lieutenant Commander Walter M. Schirra, Lieutenant Commander Alan Shepard, and Captain Donald K. (Deke) Slayton.

The footage shows the selection criteria and process, the astronauts in training, and the beginnings of our knowledge of manned space flight.

Mercury Atlas

Project Mercury was the first human spaceflight program of the United States led by its newly created space agency NASA. It ran from 1959 through 1963 with the goal of putting a human in orbit around the Earth, and doing it before the Soviet Union, as part of the early space race. It involved seven astronauts flying a total of six solo trips.

On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space in a suborbital flight after the Soviet Union had put Yuri Gagarin into orbit one month earlier. John Glenn became the first American to reach orbit on February 20, 1962. He was the third person to do so, after Soviet Gherman Titov made a day-long flight in August 1961. Read the rest of this entry »


James Rosen: Bill Buckley and the Death of Trans-Ideological Friendships

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As we survey the toxic environment in which we are soon to elect the forty-fifth president of the United States, many of us wonder: Why? Why is it this way?

 writes: As we survey the toxic environment in which we are soon to elect the forty-fifth president of the United States, many of us wonder: Why? Why is it this way?

The partisan among us will cite one of the two major-party nominees and blame him, or her, for overtaxing the system with his, or her, singularly odious baggage.

Economists and political scientists, less interested in the specific than the general, will point, perhaps more accurately, to a confluence of developments over time – the corrosion of public trust after Vietnam and Watergate, Supreme Court rulings on election laws, the twin apocalypti of globalization and the digital revolution – as the decisive factors shaping our modern political culture, with its unbearably heavy traffic of nasty primary challenges, leadership upheavals, scandals, hacks, leaks, attacks, and – gridlock.

To these explanations, I propose adding another, imparted to me by an unlikely source: Secretary of State John Kerry.

“Making conversation at one point, I asked Kerry if he had ever met one of my literary heroes. ‘Mr. Secretary, did you know William F. Buckley?’ The answer – and its forcefulness – surprised me: ‘I loved Bill Buckley.'”

We were on his first foreign trip as America’s top diplomat, in February 2013, with the traveling press corps enjoying an off-the-record wine-and-cheese event with the secretary in Cairo (to disclose this story on-the-record, I later sought and received permission from the State Department). Making conversation at one point, I 1477403983115asked Kerry if he had ever met one of my literary heroes. “Mr. Secretary, did you know William F. Buckley?”

[Order James Rosen’s book “A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century” from Amazon.com ]

The answer – and its forcefulness – surprised me: “I loved Bill Buckley.” Who knew that for the founder of National Review, the godfather of the modern conservative movement, a legendary liberal from Massachusetts harbored “love”? Why was that? I asked. Kerry resorted to Socratic Method. “Do you know who his best friend was?”

Now for those well versed in the Buckley canon, in whose ranks Kerry seemed to count himself, this amounts to a trick question.

The Buckley family and some outside observers – including this one – would cite Evan (“Van”) Galbraith, Buckley’s Yale classmate, sailing crewmate, and longest-standing friend.

[Read the full text here, at Fox News]

A graduate, also, of Harvard Law School, Galbraith would go on to serve as a Wall Street banker, chairman of the National Review board of trustees, President Reagan’s ambassador to France, and president of Moët & Chandon.

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“Buckley’s maintenance of “trans-ideological friendships” in his life reflected what some have called a genius for friendship.”

The last eulogy ever published by WFB, a supremely talented eulogist, was for Van, his friend of sixty years. Indeed, when WFB marked his eighty-second, and final, birthday, Van was one of two friends on hand, having just completed his thirtieth radiation treatment for cancer, with only months left for both men to live.

[Read the full story here, at Fox News]

In the public imagination, however, the distinction is usually reserved for John Kenneth Galbraith (no relation), the Keynesian Harvard economist who served as President Kennedy’s ambassador to India, and who coined some enduring terms in the American political lexicon (e.g., “the affluent society,” “conventional wisdom”).

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“WFB and Galbraith had met on an elevator ride in New York’s Plaza Hotel, escorting their wives to Truman Capote’s famous masked ball, the ‘Party of the Century,’ in November 1966. Buckley confronted Galbraith, right there in the elevator, about why he had tried to discourage a Harvard colleague from writing for National Review. ‘I regret that’ said Galbraith.”

This Galbraith, a skiing buddy of Buckley’s during annual retreats with their wives to winter homes in Gstaad, Switzerland, conducted the more public friendship with the era’s leading conservative. With unmatched wit and erudition, and equal instinct for the rhetorical jugular, they debated on college campuses, on the set of NBC’s “Today Show,” and of course on Buckley’s own show “Firing Line,” where Galbraith made eleven lively appearances. Read the rest of this entry »


Moon Landing Documentary Airs Today

Apollo 11 Moon Documentary Launches on Decades Network Today

 A TV documentary set to premier today (July 20) will tell the incredible story of the first moon landing, which took place 47 years ago today.

The documentary, called “Go: The Great Race,” will air four times today on the Decades TV Network, as a special episode of the show “Through the Decades.” A trailer for the documentary leads off with footage from President John F. Kennedy delivering his famous 1961 speech that called for the U.S. to put a man on the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade.

“He had no reason to believe that we could even come close to doing something like that,” says one of the documentary’s interviewees (supposedly someone who worked on the Apollo, referring to Kennedy’s challenge. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Declassified Dogfight Footage: F-14 Tomcat vs Libyan MiG-23 

1989 Gulf of Sidra encounter between two F-14 Tomcats of the USS John F. Kennedy and two MiG-23 Floggers of Libya. Unsurprisingly, the Tomcats come out on top.


Christopher Bedford: Trump And Sanders, 55 Years After The Sharon Statement

Are we conservative? It’s a question worth asking.

Christopher Bedford writes: When the biggest-drawing presidential candidate is a socialist, when the Republican front-runner is a reality TV star, it’s worth wondering if we ever really were. We: The Americans.

“So two months before John F. Kennedy would defeat Richard M. Nixon, 90 or so young men and women gathered at the Sharon, Connecticut estate of their young leader, William F. Buckley, to declare, ‘In this time of moral and political crises, it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.'”

Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan. These men bestrode 20th century politics, each standing for largely different things. So how could sound political conservatism be the reason for Mr. Reagan’s popularity when Messrs. Roosevelts each represent its rejection?

“The ‘certain eternal truths’ that followed were the most succinct explanation of American political conservatism since the Bill of Rights — and remain so today.”

Maybe the real reason all three ascended wasn’t necessarily their ideas, but how they made Americans feel in their moment of crisis.

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“Fifty five years after Sharon, the things we stood for remain much the same. So make your case to America, conservatives. Now as much as ever.”

In our moment of crisis, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump seem to have harnessed something similar: A populism, which drawing its power from the industrialists, the Depression, the Malaise, the illegals or the bankers, has captivated the people.

All populists respond to the peculiar interests of their times, but beyond his ascension, Mr. Reagan was right for his. And his ideas — our ideas — are right for now.

[Read more here, at The Daily Caller]

Because populism being popular doesn’t mean right-thinking isn’t the solution, any more than eight disastrous years under this White House do. Thinkers from Thomas Aquinas to Edmund Burke flourished because they — their ideas, their values, their civilizations — were in grave danger, and long since, we’ve trudged through dark days to build the greatest civilization the world has ever seen.

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[Read about the Sharon Statement here, at Heritage.org]

It’s likely that America isn’t necessarily conservative now any more than it was in the days of Roosevelts or Reagans, but before the Republican Party — led astray by a quarter century of Bush Republicanism — settles for an easy, gut-level populism, remember that conservatives have had the solution in the past. And have those solutions still. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Why Don’t the Left’s ‘Civility’ Rules Apply to #BlackLivesMatter Protesters?

Breathtaking: Richard Fowler Repeats Cuckoo Bananas Lefty Smear that Mass Murderer Jared Loughner was a Tea Partier.

Allapundit writes:

…By the standards of Democratic demagoguery after Gabby Giffords was shot, the left owns every drop of blood spilled by cop-killers since BLM got going. Remember, the argument at the time wasn’t that Jared Loughner had read or heard some particular bit of right-wing invective that had inspired him to shoot Giffords.

“Why were so many on the left so quick to tie a few comments made by alleged tea party members to the entire tea party?!”

The argument was that the sheer accumulation of lefty-bashing by the right, from talk radio to Sarah Palin’s “crosshairs” map to signs carried at tea-party rallies, had somehow created an “atmosphere” of rage that Loughner had tapped into as permission to murder a member of Congress.

“Even here, with Kelly demanding accountability from the left for its double standard on incendiary rhetoric, the lie that the tea party somehow bears responsibility for Giffords’s near-murder slides easily into the conversation.”

It’s the same argument the left uses when it tries to shift blame for JFK’s assassination from fellow traveler Lee Harvey Oswald to the anti-Kennedy Birchers in Dallas. Rage towards the left and its agenda is the true criminal offense. Pinning it to an actual crime, regardless of who committed it, to make accomplices of all conservatives is a formality.

Jared Lee Loughner

That’s why, to answer Kelly’s question, the “atmosphere” of rage towards cops promoted by BLM can’t similarly be said to have influenced the degenerates who have been murdering officers: Rules of civility that are designed to criminalize opposition to liberalism can’t be applied to a left-wing movement, no matter how overtly violent their rhetoric (“pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon”) gets.

The Kennedy’s motorcade drives through downtown Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, moments before the shooting of President John F. Kennedy. (Bettmann/Corbis)

“It’s the same argument the left uses when it tries to shift blame for JFK’s assassination from fellow traveler Lee Harvey Oswald to the anti-Kennedy Birchers in Dallas.”

In fact, incredible as it may seem, at about two-thirds of the way in here the guy debating Katie Pavlich (and Kelly) actually repeats the lefty smear that Loughner was a tea partier. Pavlich tries to call him on it but he doesn’t miss a beat.  Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Bill Whittle: Death By Dynasties

Do Americans love a dynasty? The media wants to tell us that everyone is looking for the next Kennedys. Check out this Afterburner to see how wrong that is.


JFK’s Final Easter holiday, Palm Beach, 1963

JFK-Easter


JFK On Israel

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Washington Breaks the Internet

DigitalDC

Musicians and Kardashians may claim they can break the Internet by posting alluring photographs, but they have nothing on Tom Wheeler

The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission unveiled on Wednesday a plan to demolish a policy that for two decades has allowed the Internet to become the jewel of world-wide communication and commerce. His new “Open Internet” plan represents a monumental shift from open markets in favor of government control. It is a grave threat to American innovation.

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“Mr. Wheeler is seeking to overturn Bill Clinton’s policy of allowing the Internet to grow as a lightly regulated “information service” because Mr. Wheeler does not want light regulation.” 

In a piece for Wired magazine, Mr. Wheeler announced that this week he will circulate to his fellow commissioners a plan to enact what President Obama demanded in November: century-old telephone regulation for today’s broadband communications companies.

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“In an acrobatic feat of Orwellian logic, Mr. Wheeler even implies that telephone-style regulation must come to the Net to prevent problems that existed in the old telephone network, such as the difficulty faced by entrepreneurs trying to deploy new communications devices.”

“This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles,” wrote Mr. Wheeler, and he’s right. The game plan is to apply to competitive digital networks rules originally written for monopoly railroads in the 1800s. But don’t worry, this “common carrier” regulatory structure was modernized for telephones as recently as the summer of 1934 when Franklin Roosevelt signed the Communications Act.

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“Mr. Wheeler may promise forbearance, but watch out, because that’s not how government works. The nature of bureaucracies is to grab power and expand it. Once the FCC assumes the authority to set “rates, terms and conditions” across the online economy, expect a political land rush.”

The Wheeler cover story is that such antiquated rules are necessary to provide “net neutrality,” the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally and not blocked from reaching consumers—in other words, to allow the Internet to function pretty much as it does now. Read the rest of this entry »


Super Bowl Ads: The Best, The Worst, The Movies and NBC

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 writes: Super Bowl advertising is almost invariably overrated, which doesn’t spare us from the impulse — even the need — to rate it.

“As usual, the hype surrounding the ads turned many into a super-bust, suggesting that the folks on Madison Avenue are either bereft of ideas or, in some instances, taking too much advantage of liberalized pot laws.”

There was some excitement going into the game about an influx of relatively new advertisers, offering the promise of new blood. But just as a wave of newcomers in 2000 preceded the dot-com meltdown, this year’s crop of novice sponsors merely exposed a lot of not-ready-for-primetime players in the marketing world.

Of course, the criticism isn’t limited to the new guys. Car companies in general had a bad day. And Budweiser– which traditionally wields the biggest stick during the game – didn’t so much come up with new creative as recycle it, going back to the cross-species love affair between puppies and Clydesdales and erecting a giant Pac-Man maze to prove that, um, what was the point of that Bud Light spot again? (Admittedly, the puppy ad will no doubt be one of the day’s most popular in snap polls.)

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“There was also a surplus of poorly utilized celebrities, including Mindy Kaling for Nationwide; Kim Kardashian for T-Mobile, along with Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman; and Pierce Brosnan for Kia. And while Liam Neeson was great, can anybody remember what the product was?”

The overall mix once again seemed to careen from the hopelessly schmaltzy (“Care makes a man stronger,” says Dove) to the simply goofy (Doritos strapping a rocket to a pig) to the borderline bizarre, such as Snickers dropping Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi into an old “The Brady Bunch” episode.

There was also a surplus of poorly utilized celebrities, including Mindy Kaling for Nationwide; Kim Kardashian for T-Mobile, along with Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman; and Pierce Brosnan for Kia. And while Liam Neeson was great, can anybody remember what the product was?

Another subcategory would be the overproduced extravaganza, such as Mercedes’ CGI “Tortoise & the Hare” retelling or Bud Light’s aforementioned Pac-Man spot. Some of these fare well in audience surveys, but the link between creative and advertiser is so tenuous the benefits often seem exaggerated. And while it’s not necessarily fair, both Microsoft and Toyota’s ads featuring people walking thanks to prosthetic blades were undermined in part by the specter of Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius, who was found guilty of murder last year.

“Finally, there were the public-service announcements, with the sobering NoMore.org domestic violence spot – which resonated in light of the NFL’s Ray Rice fiasco – and Always’ ‘Like a Girl’ campaign. Yet as compelling as those spots were, they almost have to be broken out separately from more directly commercial advertising.”

So what were the principal highlights and lowlights? Separating out movies (which are essentially their own animal), public-service announcements and NBC’s promos for its midseason lineup, they loosely breakdown as follows:

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THE BEST

ESurance: Tapping Bryan Cranston in “Breaking Bad” mode was a genius move, mostly because of the instant cool the association creates in the mind of the show’s fans. In this case, they really did have a lot of us at hello.

Fiat: Look, we all know car ads are essentially about sex. Fiat made the connection overt by dropping a Viagra tablet into one of its cars. If not the best ad of the day, it was the most truthful, since it’s hard to think of any other reason to drive a Fiat.

Carnival Cruises: Wedding John F. Kennedy’s voice discussing man’s love affair with the ocean to beautiful imagery of ships at sea accomplished the near-impossible: It almost made me forget Kathie Lee Gifford and think, at least momentarily, about taking a Carnival Cruise. Plus, in practical terms, the Kennedy-era contingent probably a big part of the company’s target demo.

Coca-Cola: While it’s unlikely spilling Coke on the Internet will sap the venom out of Web comments and our political discourse, it’s hard not to applaud the underlying sentiment and idealism. Notably, McDonald’s went for a similar uplifting spiel with its “Pay With Lovin’” ad, which is probably effective from a marketing standpoint but felt cloying as a commercial. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] After Fifty Years, Anti-Castro Cuban Exiles Still at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay

In the early 1960s, hundreds of anti-Castro Cubans took refuge on the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Bay. Half a century later, two dozen of them still live here…

 


[PHOTO] President and Mrs. Kennedy with the 1961 White House Christmas Tree

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13 December 1961 President and Mrs. Kennedy with the 1961 White House Christmas Tree. White House, Blue Room.  Photograph by Robert Knudsen, Office of the Naval Aide to the President, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.


Photo of the Day: Obama Sniffs a Cuban Cigar

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Barack Obama’s historic peace-deal with Cuba after 50 years of cold war hostility was a breakthrough not to be sniffed at.

But that didn’t stop the US president having a try, when he got close and personal to a Cuban on Wednesday … not a citizen, but a cigar.

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Significantly, it was the first time in 52 years that a US president has officially savoured the Cuban delicacy since John F. Kennedy stockpiled a secret stash of his favourite Havanas in the hours before he imposed a trade embargo on the Communist state in 1962.

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Obama was attending one of two White House receptions to welcome the start of Hanukkah when a guest handed him a large stogie.

He took it in his hand and waved it in the air before running it under his nose for a whiff.

The room fell near-silent as he paused to take in its aroma, before declaring it ‘pretty good’ to everyone’s relief. Read the rest of this entry »


Great Moments: Kennedy, Cuba and Cigars

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Pierre Salinger, Autumn 1992: Cigars have been a part of my life. My smoking habit began in my youth, helped me write my own adult history, and now, cigars are in my dreams. Even though the world is rising against smoking, and particularly against cigars, I still feel they are part of my daily world and I have no incentive to stop smoking them.

My cigar smoking started when I was young. I entered the United States Navy in the early days of World War II and when I reached the age of 19 I became commanding officer of a submarine chaser in the Pacific Ocean. But to run a ship that had 25 sailors and two other officers, all older than me, posed a deep psychological problem . How could I convince them that I was a man of authority? Even if the quality of those big cigars was mediocre, they accomplished their purpose–they made a 19-year-old boy really look like the commander of the ship.JFK-cigar4

When I returned to San Francisco after the war, I went back to a job at a daily newspaper where I had briefly worked before entering the Navy. I kept on smoking my cigars while I wrote articles. But the cigars were still bad cigars, and they obviously smelled bad. There was a wonderful woman journalist working for the newspaper who hated the smell. She decided to take up a collection among my fellow workers. She handed me $19.32 and told me it was her contribution for a better quality of cigars. Better cigars, better smell.

Despite the self-interested largess of my colleagues, I still did not advance to the cream of available cigars in those days, the imports from Cuba. Actually, I would have to wait until I was almost 35 years old before I started to work for a rising young American politician named John Kennedy, who liked to smoke Petit Upmann Cuban cigars. Working around him, I felt I had no choice but to upgrade my smoke of choice to a Cuban. I’ve smoked them ever since.

Shortly after I entered the White House in 1961, a series of dramatic events occurred. In April, 1961, the United States went through the disastrous error of the Bay of Pigs, where Cuban exiles with the help of the United States government tried to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. Several months later, the President called me into his office in the early evening.

“Pierre, I need some help,” he said solemnly.

“I’ll be glad to do anything I can Mr. President,” I replied.

“I need a lot of cigars.”

“How many, Mr. President?”

“About 1,000 Petit Upmanns.”

I shuddered a bit, although I kept my reaction to myself. “And, when do you need them, Mr. President?”

“Tomorrow morning.”

I walked out of the office wondering if I would succeed. But since I was now a solid Cuban cigar smoker, I knew a lot of stores, and I worked on the problem into the evening.

The next morning, I walked into my White House office at about 8 a.m., and the direct line from the President’s office was already ringing. He asked me to come in immediately.

“How did you do Pierre?” he asked, as I walked through the door.

“Very well,” I answered. In fact, I’d gotten 1,200 cigars. Kennedy smiled, and opened up his desk. He took out a long paper which he immediately signed. It was the decree banning all Cuban products from the United States. Cuban cigars were now illegal in our country.

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The embargo complicated my life. The only time I could get a few Cuban cigars was when I traveled abroad with the President to countries like France, Austria and Great Britain. But then, in late May 1962, I went alone to Moscow for the first time. I met for two days with Nikita Khrushchev, talking face to face with the Soviet leader. As our meeting came to end, Khrushchev turned to me. Read the rest of this entry »


JFK Assassinated 51 Years Ago Today

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NY Daily News has a feature with archive photos of JFK

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[Also see – Punditfromanotherplanet’s archive of posts about JFK]


Kennedy Announces Blockade of Cuba During the Missile Crisis: October 22, 1962

NYTimes-Cuba-Kennedy

In a dramatic televised address to the American public, President John F. Kennedy announces that the Soviet Union has placed nuclear weapons in Cuba and, in response, the United States will establish a blockade around the island to prevent any other offensive weapons from entering Castro’s state. Kennedy also warned the Soviets that any nuclear attack from Cuba would be construed as an act of war, and that the United States would retaliate in kind.

Castro-kruschev

Kennedy charged the Soviet Union with subterfuge and outright deception in what he referred to as a “clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace.” He dismissed Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko‘s claim that the weapons in Cuba were of a purely defensive nature as “false.” Harking back to efforts to contain German, Italian, and Japanese aggression in the 1930s, Kennedy argued that war-like behavior, “if allowed to grow unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war. Read the rest of this entry »


Glenn Reynolds: For Next Attorney General, Reach Across Aisle

obama-holder-noJustice

Eric Holder has announced that he will be stepping down as attorney general as soon as a replacement can be named. And already, National Journal notes that with Holder’s departure, President Obama will be losing one of his few friends in new-schoolWashington.

“…Holder’s role has been not so much law enforcement as ‘scandal-goalie,’ ensuring that whatever comes out in the news or in congressional investigations, no one in the government will go to jail…”

[Glenn Reynolds‘ book The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself is available at Amazon]

As the article by George Condon notes, in choosing a friend, Obama was following in the footsteps of presidents going all the way back to George Washington, who named Revolutionary War comrades-in-arms to the slot.

“Writing in Above The Law, Tamara Tabo notes that Holder’s stonewalling, which led him to be the first attorney general ever found in contempt of Congress, has poisoned relations between the Justice Department and legislators, ensuring a rocky reception for whoever Obama names next.”

John F. Kennedy named his brother Robert to be attorney general, and Richard Nixon named his law partner, John Mitchell. In many ways, this makes sense: The attorney general of the United States is at the top of the law enforcement apparatus, and in that position, you want someone you can trust.

Read the rest of this entry »


This Day in History: The First 1960 Kennedy/Nixon Presidential Debate

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On September 26, 1960, John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon held the first televised debate in presidential campaign history. The program originated in Chicago and was carried by all of the major radio and TV networks.

It was one of four debates. Howard K. Smith served as the moderator and questions came from Sander Vanocur, NBC News; Charles Warren, Mutual News; Stuart Novins, CBS News; and Bob Fleming, ABC News.

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Poynter


This Day in History: Sept. 14, 1901: Theodore Roosevelt is Sworn in as President After William McKinley is Assassinated

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On this day in 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office as President of the United States upon William McKinley’s assassination.  Roosevelt was 42 at the time, making him the youngest President until John F. Kennedy.

McKinley, who had been extremely resistant to accepting security measures, was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz about a week earlier in Buffalo, New York.  Afterwards, Congress assigned the Secret Service the duty of protecting the President.

[a preview video of McKinley’s assassination from Ken Burns’s The Roosevelts]

Photo: Assassination of President McKinley. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division


Secular Stagnation Is a Cover-Up: Failed Keynesian Policies Have Blocked Growth

American-dreamers

 “A new Wall Street Journal poll finds that three out of four Americans think the next generation will be worse off than this generation. So long American Dream.”

Editor’s note: Larry Kudlow is economics editor of National Review. Stephen Moore, a frequent contributor to National Review, is chief economist at the Heritage Foundation.

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For National Review OnlineLarry Kudlow & Stephen Moore:kudlow_rectangle

John F. Kennedy campaigned for president in 1960 by belittling Dwight Eisenhower’s three recessions and declaring, “We can do bettah.” He was right. In the 1960s, after the Kennedy tax cuts were implemented, prosperity returned, the economy grew by almost 4 percent annually, unemployment sank to record lows, and a gold-linked dollar held down inflation.

“It would be hard to conceive of a worse set of policy prescriptions than the ones Larry Summers and his Keynesian collaborators have conjured up.”

But today many leading economists are throwing up their arms in frustration and assuring us that 2 percent growth is really the best we can do.

Barack Obama’s former chief economist Larry Summers began this chant of “secular stagnation.” It’s a pessimistic message, and it’s now being echoed by Federal Reserve vice summerschair Stanley Fischer. He agrees with Summers that slow growth in “labor supply, capital investment, and productivity” is the new normal that’s “holding down growth.” Summers also believes that negative real interest rates aren’t negative enough. If Fisher and Fed chair Janet Yellen agree, central bank policy rates will never normalize in our lifetime.

“These measures have flat-lined the economy. It’s as simple as that.”

Unfortunately, Americans seem to be buying into this dreary assessment. A new Wall Street Journal poll finds that three out of four Americans think the next generation will be worse off than this generation. So long American Dream.

But secular stagnation is all wrong. It’s a cover up for mistaken economic policies that began in the Bush years and intensified during the Obama administration. Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage Soviet Space-Age Memorabilia

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1962 … “It-is-good-to-be-a-Communist!”

Source: x-ray delta one

Exploring Space


Salon’s Credibility on Life Support: Marxist Zealot Lee Harvey Oswald Revised and Repackaged as a ‘Right-Winger’

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“This entire article is a nonsensical mishmash of broken logical connections, slander, and outright historical ignorance.”

RedState‘s  Leon H. Wolf brings this hilarious and utterly predictable propaganda gem:

Via Salon today comes one of the most truly bizarre pieces of revisionist history I have ever seen, even within the context of doublespeakarticles appearing at Salon. The basic outline of the piece is as follows:

  1. Dallas in 1963 was full of crazy right-wingers;
  2. These people had guns;
  3. John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas in 1963;
  4. Barack Obama likewise has many right-wingers who oppose him; therefore
  5. It’s only a matter of time before one of them shoots him.

The baseless appeal to sensationalism and emotionalism is the primary (and usually only) tool in the gun control advocate’s toolbox. To that end, I have to admit that this is well played on Salon’s part; every reasonable person of all political stripes in America is legitimately terrified at the prospect of President Joe Biden. The problem (as always, when dealing with a gun control advocate) is that reason, logic and history demand a completely codex_205-268x300opposite conclusion. Let us grant for just a moment that Dallas in 1963 was full of various fringe right-leaning groups that were well armed. I don’t know; it might or might not be true. I’m not a Dallas historian and it’s not really relevant to the point of this post. The point is that factually, John F. Kennedy was killed by an avowed communist because of that communist’s belief that Kennedy was too tough on commies. These are not facts that are in reasonable dispute. Even if you are one of the grassy knoll people you have to concede Lee Harvey Oswald’s place as at least one of the shooters which means that, without a doubt, Kennedy was killed by left-wing extremists not right-wing extremists. In an especially delicious bit of irony, while trying to somehow pin Kennedy’s death on the anti-communists, they omit mentioning that seven months before assassinating Kennedy, Oswald attempted to assassinate one of the most prominent anti-communists in Dallas, General Edwin Walker. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Bill Whittle: It’s Been 45 Years Since Man Walked on the Moon for the First Time. Have We Been Challenged Since?

Its been 45 years since man walked on the moon for the first time. Have we been challenged since? Or are we a windless sail, full of potentital without a direct challenge? We tamed a continent, we conquered the skies, and we did fly to the moon–don’t let us, as a people, only have political discussion as our challenge.

Afterburner w/Bill Whittle


[VIDEO] Reality Show President: Inside the White House PR Machine

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“I am who the media says I am. I say what they say I say. I become who they say I’ve become.”

—Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope, 2006.

“Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

—Barack Obama, 2009.

For Reason.com writes:  Which Barack Obama is telling the truth here? Writing as a U.S. senator from Illinois, Obama laments that there will always be a barrier—the independent media—between him and the people he serves. As a public figure, his identity will be created by reporters and critics that he cannot control, distorted by the lenses of photographers who don’t answer directly to him.

“The White House has effectively become a broadcast company.”

— Michael Shaw, publisher of Bagnewsnotes.com

Only three years later, as commander in chief, President Obama took a far more trusting tone with the media. In his earliest speeches, he promised an administration of unparalleled openness, access, and integrity. Indeed, he asserted he was running “the most transparent administration in history” just four months before Edward Snowden spilled the beans on the National Security Agency.

“The White House has effectively become a broadcast company,” says Michael Shaw, publisher of Bagnewsnotes.com, a site dedicated to the analysis of news images. Shaw explains how strategically composed photos, taken by official White House photographers, travel from social media sites that are controlled by the administration to the front pages of newspapers around the world. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama and the LBJ Delusion

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John Aloysius Farrell  writes:  Lyndon Johnson recognized opportunity when he saw it. The body of John F. Kennedy had been tucked into an Arlington hillside for but a few days when Johnson summoned the leaders of Congress to the White House in late 1963. They were going to seize this moment of national unity, he told the assembled lawmakers, and move the vital legislation—on civil rights, taxes and other pressing issues—stalled in congressional cul de sacs.

LBJtallTo get the tax cut through the Senate, Johnson told the leaders, hewould have to pare federal spending. That meant chopping wasteful programs, like funding for antiquated Navy yards, from the Pentagon budget. They were relics from the world wars, LBJ said, barnacles in an era of ICBMs and nuclear warheads. At his side was Kenneth O’Donnell, Kennedy’s chief of staff.

“Where are you going to close them?” asked House Speaker John McCormack, a flinty Democrat from South Boston, knowing well that the yards were huge employers. Philadelphia, the Speaker was told. Brooklyn. And Boston. At which point McCormack drew on his cigar, turned in his chair, and blew a mighty cloud of smoke in Ken O’Donnell’s face.

“How did it go?’ Johnson wanted to know, after the meeting was done. Well, said O’Donnell, the Boston yard in Charlestown sat in the district of McCormack’s protégé—Rep. Thomas “Tip” O’Neill Jr. —who happened to be the deciding vote on the Rules Committee. “You’ll never get a piece of legislation on the floor of the House of Representatives as long as he’s there,” O’Donnell said. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] MASHUP: Dennis Rodman and Marylin Monroe Sing Happy Birthday to North Korean Ruler Kim Jong-Un

Mashup: Pundit Planet Media – YouTube

Read the rest of this entry »


Biggest Political Lie Contest Contender: The Left’s ‘Trickle-Down’ Lie

thomas_sowellThomas Sowell  writes:  New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, in his inaugural speech, denounced people “on the far right” who “continue to preach the virtue of trickle-down economics.” According to Mayor de Blasio, “They believe that the way to move forward is to give more to the most fortunate, and that somehow the benefits will work their way down to everyone else.”

If there is ever a contest for the biggest lie in politics, this one should be a top contender.

While there have been all too many lies told in politics, most have some little tiny fraction of truth in them, to make them seem plausible. But the “trickle-down” lie is 100 percent lie.

It should win the contest both because of its purity — no contaminating speck of truth — and because of how many people have repeated it over the years, without any evidence being asked for or given.

Read the rest of this entry »


Always. About. Obama.

via Twitter


Talk Straight: 20 Telling Facts About The Democratic Party

Alger Hiss, accused of Communist espionage, takes an oath during hearings before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.  He denied Whittaker Chambers' accusation that he was a Communist. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Alger Hiss, accused of Communist espionage, takes an oath. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

1) The Trail of Tears (1838): The first Democrat President, Andrew Jackson and his successor Martin Van Buren, herded Indians into camps, tormented them, burned and pillaged their homes and forced them to relocate with minimal supplies. Thousands died along the way.

2) Democrats Cause The Civil War (1860): The pro-slavery faction of the Democrat Party responded to Abraham Lincoln’s election by seceding, which led to the Civil War.

3) Formation of the KKK (1865): Along with 5 other Confederate veterans, Democrat Nathan Bedford Forrest created the KKK.

4) 300 Black Americans Murdered (1868):“Democrats in Opelousas, Louisianakilled nearly 300 blacks who tried to foil an assault on a Republican newspaper editor.”

5) The American Protective League and The Palmer Raids (1919-1921): Under the leadership of Woodrow Wilson, criticizing the government became a crime and a fascist organization, the American Protective League was formed to spy on and even arrest fellow Americans for being insufficiently loyal to the government. More than 100,000 Americans were arrested, with less than 1% of them ever being found guilty of any kind of crime.

6) Democrats Successfully Stop Republicans From Making Lynching A Federal Crime (1922):“The U.S. House adopted Rep. Leonidas Dyer’s (R., Mo.) bill making lynching a federal crime. Filibustering Senate Democrats killed the measure.”

7) The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (1932-1972): Contrary to what you may have heard, Democrats in Alabama did not give black Americans syphilis. However, the experimenters did know that subjects of the experiment unknowingly had syphilis and even after it was proven that penicillin could be used to effectively treat the disease in 1947, the experiments continued. As a result, a number of the subjects needlessly infected their loved ones and died, when they could have been cured.

8) Japanese Internment Camps (1942):Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order that led to more than 100,000 Japanese Americans being put into “bleak, remote camps surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards.”

9) Alger Hiss Convicted Of Perjury (1950): Hiss, who helped advise FDR at Yalta and was strongly defended by the Left, turned out to be a Soviet spy. He was convicted of perjury in 1950 (Sadly, the statute of limitations on espionage had run out), but was defended by liberals for decades until the Verona papers proved so conclusively that he was guilty that even most his fellow liberals couldn’t continue to deny it.

Read the rest of this entry »


JFK’s Signal Accomplishment: (Almost Blowing up the World, then) ‘Saving’ the World

(Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call via Getty Images)

(Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call via Getty Images)

Morton Kondracke displays some funny logic. My commentary is in italics.

I didn’t read or watch every observation of the anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination (who could?)  but the ones I did gave short shrift to his signal accomplishment — saving the world from a nuclear holocaust.

Could it be because JFK played a provocative role in the nuclear confrontation in the first place? And other observers are more informed and realistic about this? The fact that JFK managed to back out of a nuclear crisis that he helped start is a “Signal Accomplishment”? Just a thought, Morton. Credit is due, Kennedy did act honorably, and skillfully, this is true. History records that. It’s been explored by scholars ever since. But let’s not pretend Kennedy swept in and saved the world.

The other view is that Kennedy brought the USA to the brink of a global nuclear war, then successfully avoided it. That might be the reason others haven’t touted it as a signal accomplishment. 

His cool restraint during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis — resisting many advisers who were calling for bombing Soviet missile sites in Cuba — ought to earn him the top-of-the-heap public approval ratings he enjoys (90 percent in a CNN poll).

I doubt the ratings are based on that, though. His celebrated grace, glamour, wit, eloquence, inspiration of a generation to public service, his (belated) support for civil rights, the Camelot myth created by his widow — and, above all, his martyrdom — most likely are the major factors.

Grace, glamour, wit, eloquence…morbidly brazen womanizing, medical dependence on steroids and regular injections of powerful amphetamines to mask grave health problems….and recklessly bringing the USA to the brink of nuclear war. Okay, got it. Glamorous. 

Historians rate him lower than the public does. If you look at the excellent Wikipedia site, Historical Rankings of Presidents of the United States, he rates in the middle-upper tier in a dozen surveys of historians — 14th in a 2002 Sienna College survey.

Read the rest of this entry »


Remembering JFK

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There was a time when our nation was united in the defense of liberty and promise of America.

Senator Ted Cruz writes:  There is good reason why so many Americans remember our 35th president, John F. Kennedy, so fondly.

Throughout his life, as a young man in college, war hero, U.S. representative, senator, Pulitzer Prize–winning author, and president, Kennedy fully embraced the American spirit and called on us to do the same.

It’s fitting that his first words to the nation, in his inaugural address as president, were “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” Today, on the 50th anniversary of his untimely death, let’s reflect on all he did.

In 1940, the year young Kennedy graduated from college, the nation was in the throes of World War II. He could have done anything, but he wanted nothing more than to fight for his country, ultimately earning the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for acts of heroism and, owing to related injuries, the Purple Heart.

As a U.S. senator he won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, Profiles in Courage, that celebrated the service of eight U.S. senators — one of them, a personal hero of mine, former U.S. senator Sam Houston.

Read the rest of this entry »


JFK Assassination Records Board Member: Oswald Acted Alone

January 1960: John Fitzerald Kennedy (1917 – 1963), 35th American president. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

January 1960: John Fitzerald Kennedy, 35th American president. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Records Commission Was Created To Gather, Release Evidence In 1990s

In the wake of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a member of a board that collected records on the assassination in the 1990s talked about its process and findings.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, Columbia University history professor emeritus Henry Franklin Graff was one of five members of what was called the Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

[JFK Assassination 50 Years Later: Complete Coverage From punditfromanotherplanet.com]

He said all the evidence indicated that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

Read the rest of this entry »


‘Oswaldskovich’: Lee Harvey Oswald

In this Nov. 23, 1963 file photo, Lee Harvey Oswald is led down a corridor of the Dallas police station for another round of questioning in connection with the assassination of U.S, President John F. Kennedy. Oswald, who denied any involvement in the shooting, was formally charged with murder. (AP Photo)

In this Nov. 23, 1963 file photo, Lee Harvey Oswald is led down a corridor of the Dallas police station for another round of questioning. (AP Photo)

Lee Harvey Oswald and the ACLU

Jarrett Stepman writes:  Although conspiracy theories abound as to who orchestrated President John F. Kennedy’s murder 50 years ago, there is little doubt regarding who actually pulled the trigger and shot the 35th president: left-wing radical Lee Harvey Oswald.

This fact escapes most of the liberal media members who often attribute Kennedy’s death to conservatives or “right-wing hate.”

For instance, the New York Times recently published an article called, “The City With a Death Wish in its Eye,” in which the author, James McAuley, called Dallas the “city of hate,” a city that “willed the death of a president.”

This bizarre and un-factual conclusion has been peddled for many years, especially by left-wing politicos that attempt to paint every conservative political movement as a diabolical conspiracy to kill liberal politicians.

Read the rest of this entry »